Bunny and Butterfly (ILP) #diglitclass

To fulfill my two hours of independent learning project time, I scattered it throughout the week. I did some Monday and some Thursday, and finished up today. I did three separate things this week. They were all very unique and required different skills to do. I also reacted and felt differently during all three projects.

My first project I did this week was a stuffed animal bunny that I had been wanting to make. Okay… confession time… I have a stash of yarn hidden under my bed. Yeah I know, it’s strange to think that a college aged student has a box of yarn under her bed. Oh, well. I love it! So, I was going through this box to find the perfect color to make my bunny. I was thinking a yellow or mint green color, but I eventually settled on a brown color. More realistic. For this project, it is made by using a single crochet stitch and making a square or rectangle. Then you thread yarn through the square to make a triangle. Pull the yarn tight so it makes a sort of circle with two corners sticking out. Stuff the circle with stuffing and that is now your head. I struggled with getting the body the right shape but I figured out how to make it round. Then just make and attach a puff ball for the tail. During this project, I was relaxing and watching a movie with my roommate. I felt calm and happy while making this. I might give this bunny away as a present to someone, but I’m not sure who. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

On Thursday, I ventured to Walmart to buy yarn. I know, more yarn? Yeah. This was for my dad’s afghan project. I decided on two shades of red and a grey. Red is his favorite color. I didn’t really consider what I was feeling on this trip. Just determined to get what I need and get out. I’m not a big fan of shopping.

My final project for this week was a butterfly that I made. I used a ball of yarn that shifts from red, to orange, to pink, and back to red. This project is worked in a circular pattern and then folds over into a butterfly. I used a double crochet stitch to create this. While making the butterfly, I began to relax. I hadn’t been feeling well today, but once I sat down, turned on a movie, and started to crochet, I quit worrying about things and just got lost in what I was doing. I don’t feel 100% better, but it has definitely helped.

I plan on starting my dad’s afghan this coming week and possibly making some baby booties. Thanks for visiting!

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These are my own pictures of what I have been doing this week. The top two pictures are two different views of the bunny I made. The bottom left picture is the skeins (balls) of yarn for the afghan. The bottom right picture shows the butterfly I made and the yellow butterfly is one my mother made and I use as my guideline. Thanks for reading!

Personal Learning Networks

Photo CC-By Caroline Bucky

Personal Learning Networks are something I had never heard of until now. I learned that they are a network of people to reach out to in order to learn and connect with others. It’s not specific to teachers and education. A personal learning network can be created for any type of profession or hobby. It really help to connect a teacher with other educators to communicate and sometimes even collaborate with them. It helps teachers to share ideas and resources to others and in return, they can find ideas and resources from their personal learning networks. These allow for teachers to understand and connect with others that struggle with the same things or go through similar situations in their classrooms. Personal learning networks help form connected educators, which benefit the students they interact with. I kind of see a personal learning network as a form of social networking that focuses on a certain topic, such as education or physical therapy.

To begin creating my own personal learning network (PLN), I started thinking about what kind of PLN I would like to have. I decided on education in general but almost solely focused on elementary. I began by reading about PLNs and how to create them. Then I searched for the best people to follow on Twitter in education. I found a whole host of sites that offered lists of people to follow. I started sifting through the lists and reading through these peoples twitter feeds. If I thought they would be good to connect with, I added them. I then moved on to searching for education blogs I could follow. I struggled a bit with finding ones that are updated regularly and that were relevant to what I was looking for. I found many that were simply a host of resources for worksheets and activities for teachers. That would be great to follow once I graduate and am actually teaching, but I was really looking for education discussions rather than resources right now.

The article, How to Cultivate Your Personal Learning Network, was very helpful in learning about this. I learned that there are several things that you have to do in order to cultivate and keep your personal learning network relevant and fruitful. You have to keep improving your PLN by picking and choosing who you want in your PLN and who no longer benefits your learning. I have already began to discover who I would like to keep in my PLN and who doesn’t fit well. Another thing you have to do is share information yourself with your PLN to benefit them. This also helps you engage with people and inquire on subjects you need help with.

One thing that I think I will kind of struggle with is finding and feeding my PLN with valuable information. I’m really unsure of how to go about finding information to share with my PLN. Maybe by reading education articles and journals? That might help.

I have begun to find great people and groups to follow, including Teaching Issues. They always have inspirational bits of information for teachers, including the one below. I am already enjoying the exploration of my PLN.


Coffee Cozies and Benefits #diglitclass

So, this week not only did I do some actual crocheting, but I also researched some of the health benefits of doing yarn crafts such as crocheting. For my actual project that I did this week, I crocheted coffee cozies for a friend of mine. She loves coffee and bought some coffee mugs. They aren’t the easiest to hold while hot coffee is in them though, because of how hot they become. So, she asked me to crochet her some really simple coffee mug cozies. This project didn’t take me quite two hours to complete though, so I decided to do some research on the health benefits of yarn crafting. In the article 10 Most Important Health Benefits of Yarncrafting, there are some huge benefits. One benefit is that knitting and crocheting are stress relievers. they allow people to just forget about their troubles for a short time. Yarn work also decreases anxiety. Crocheting and knitting also relieves depression. The article states that the repetitive motion of crocheting releases the natural anti-depressant hormone serotonin. Crocheting and knitting also has been linked to the postponing or reducing of dementia. The article says that the act of knitting and crocheting soothes those experiencing memory loss and that the simple acts of these activities can postpone memory problems. Another benefit that hits a different area of health is a higher self-esteem. The completion of a project is a satisfying feeling. It boosts your self-esteem to see that people think you are good at something. Crocheting and knitting can work at relaxation which in and of itself is a huge health benefit. Another benefit that may benefit a person in a slightly different way is crocheting and prayer. In my church, we have a prayer shawl ministry. Prayer has been proven to be a huge health benefit for many people and crocheting is an outlet to give you the time and clear mind to pray.

In the weeks to come there are several projects I would like to begin and complete. I still would like to make a stuffed animal bunny. I should be able to begin and complete that fairly soon. I also want to start on the afghan project for my dad within the next week or two. I would also like to complete some baby hats to donate to the local hospital.

To get some ideas of projects I could do, I reached out to my friends over Facebook. One friend messaged me asking if I would like his mom to send me some patterns. I said sure and gave him my address. A few days later, I received a stuffed envelope full of small magazines that had patterns and several paper copies of random pattern ideas from my friend’s mom (whom I’d never met). She enclosed a letter explaining what some of the patterns were for. She also enclosed a bookmark cross made by crocheting thread. It was so awesome how crocheting builds a community and helps make friends. I might try crocheting using thread.

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The left picture is the coffee cozies that I made. The right picture is the mail I received from my friend’s mom! Both pictures were taken by me.

Passion-Based Learning

When you hear of passion-based learning, what do you think of? I thought of our Independent Learning Projects. I always find it interesting when teachers allow us to pick the articles we get to read and respond to because it allows us to read something that interests us. Yes, we were required to read articles from the list provided, but beyond that, we chose.

The first article that caught my eye was 21st Century Educating, Part 1: Passion. This article described how passion fits into the classroom, which isn’t as emphasized as it could be. It described how the more passionate the teachers are about educating students and the subject matter, the more excited and eager the students will be to learn. And when students are engaged in their learning they will get more out of the lesson. By focusing on things that students are passionate about, the students will be more invested in their education. The article also discusses passion-based learning and innovation. “Passion drives us to take appropriate risks. It leads to innovation.” When you are passionate about what you are doing or learning, you can create new ideas and inventions. This article gave the example of wingsuit base jumping. It is where people wear these suits that kind of have wings and jump off cliffs and soar to the bottom. It would take a lot of courage to jump off a cliff like they were doing. They seemed fearless, but they were near experts. The jumpers got bored of just jumping off and flying away from the cliff side, so they started “playing around.” They experimented with gliding closer  to the cliff side until they were nearly touching the side. This metaphorically shows what sometimes happens in education. Children get bored and start messing around. The article comments that education might be safe, but boring and un-engaging. This is because the passion has plateaued.

The second article that I chose to read was 25 Ways to Institute Passion-Based Learning in the Classroom. It gave some great examples and ways to add passion-based learning to your classroom. Right off the bat, the article has a quote from W. B. Yeats: “Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.” That is a fantastic way of looking at education! Some of the ways to institute passion-based learning from this article were sharing your passions with the students, in and outside the class. Connecting students’ passions with others that shared their passion and connecting their passion to lessons in school and to real-life scenarios. The article also said to value all passions equally, which is something that should always happen. It also suggested to let the students take control sometimes. I think that is a great way to approach it. Encourage students to take the lead in their education.


Photo CC-By Zak Tessier

Crochet Plan

For this project we were to devote 5 hours of our study time to working on our independent learning project. That is a big chunk of time for this class. To begin with, I started off with some little projects just to refresh my memory of how to crochet. I crocheted a purple bow. In another class I’m taking, we are doing this self-identity project. I made a bow for that project and I thought I could do another one for this course. Another project that I finished up was making a drawstring bag using plastic grocery bags as the “yarn”. Seeing as it was the first one I ever made using this material, I thought it turned out well. I added my pictures from these projects at the bottom of this post.

One project that I would like to do during this semester is a ripple afghan for my dad. As long as I can remember, he has always owned several afghans that he uses when he naps or sleeps on the couch. Now, don’t jump to conclusions and think that he gets kicked out there by my mother. He is the amazing and courageous sheriff in our fine county and he prefers to sleep in the living room to protect us in case someone tries to break in the house while we are sleeping. So, I would like to thank him for being my incredible dad by making him an afghan. The afghan will end up being about forty inches by fifty inches. The pattern that I have found for this afghan is pretty large, so I plan on working on this some each week while also working on some smaller projects as well. Other projects that I plan on doing over the semester include small stuffed animal bunnies, a few coffee mug cozies, some baby bonnets, and several other projects.

In this week’s instructions for the Independent Learning Project (ILP), it suggests to write about what I’m thinking. Well, when I am crocheting a project, there are several things that I am thinking about. Depending on the project, I will spend time thinking about the person I am making the project for. If I do not know who the project is for, I think about the possibilities or reflect on my day. With the projects that I worked on this week, I thought about myself while making the bow, since it was about a self-identity project, and while crocheting the drawstring bag, I thought about my grandma, since I was learning from her. Overall, I think this project is going great! I have made a Pinterest account to draw inspiration from! Crocheting gives me the opportunity to relax and calm down from the hectic days I have. I believe I will thoroughly enjoy this project.


These are my own pictures and projects so far. The bow is made of yarn. The bottom left picture is an in-progress view of my drawstring bag and the bottom right is the finished product. Being my first project using plastic bags, it isn’t the best, but if I do another plastic bag project, it will improve. What do you think of them?


Learning vs. Thinking

Forget what you know! Jacob Barnett is a 14-year-old PhD student studying quantum physics! Wow! He speaks in this TED Talks video about how learning is all fine and dandy, but real creations come when people stop learning and start thinking. What Barnett means by this is that you have to stop settling for the mundane facts that are simply presented to you in school and begin to open your mind to the possibilities. He describes, “In order to succeed you have to look at everything with your own unique perspective.” When you think, it is genuinely unique and creative in your own way. This is how new ideas and scientific findings are discovered. This video gave examples of geniuses, like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, and how their learning was inhibited through a school closing or something like that and it was the best thing that could have happened for them. They began to independently and creatively think and created great concepts such as quantum physics and calculus. I thought that Barnett’s reasoning was fantastic! Stop learning in order to start thinking! Now, being a 14-year-old and being a PhD student, much of Barnett’s scientific talk about the physics portion of things was nearly lost on me! I understood his main points in his discussion, but his examples were quite complex and I could not wrap my head around the quantum physics. It also amazed me how far Barnett had come in such a short time. At age 10, he was applying and beginning to attend college. WHAT!?! Now he’s a PhD student!? Barnett has autism and started out in a regular special education classroom, but he wasn’t learning anything, so he began thinking about what he was interested in. Soon enough, he had created his own theorem. At the age of 14! It just amazes me how talented some people are.

This TED Talk will definitely affect the way I go about teaching and educating. When I become a teacher, I will try to enable thinking more in my classroom, rather than just learning. I will give my students projects where they can explore their own interests and be able to think and create things. Giving students the opportunities to think and explore is a crucial part in the educational process. This video has given me a whole new perspective on the relationship between learning and thinking. They don’t go hand in hand. Many times one has to stop so the other can take over and flourish. I highly recommend this video to all future educators.

Barnett posed a challenge on his audience. He challenged them to stop learning for the next 24 hours. He challenged them to pick a special interest field. Something that each person enjoyed and was interested in. He challenged them to be the field. To think and create for the next 24 hours. Could you do that?

Photo CC-By Joe Desiderio



Learning Project (Crochet?)

I had no idea what to do when I learned that we were going to do an Independent Learning project. I really have grown to like the idea of the Independent Learning Project. When thinking about what my project should involve, I didn’t know what I could do. Many of the things that are important to me aren’t projects really. My faith and family are very important for me, so originally I thought about reading the Bible. Yet, the idea of reading the Bible as an assignment and HAVING to read God’s word wasn’t really the way I wanted to read the Bible and grow in faith. So, I turned to other aspects of faith and family. A random option that popped into my head briefly was learning how to make origami, but I figured that didn’t have much real world application. I thought about community service and serving the less fortunate. I vetoed that though because I don’t know that I would enjoy that and have as much fun as I would with what I think I will do.

I just recently became interested in the art of crochet. My mother has crocheted often throughout my lifetime. Many of her aunts and family members crochet as well. They made these beautiful baby blankets and donated them to raffles at church or donated them to churches with NICU centers for the new families. So far I have learned a few basic stitches and patterns for certain things. I have made winter hats, for adults and newborns, scarves, and potholders. I have experimented with some random things such as koozies, a butterfly, and coffee thermos wraps. For Christmas last year, I also made my brother’s girlfriend a big mermaid tail blanket. Once you got over how big the crochet hook was and how big the actual blanket was, it was as simple as the rest of projects. With this project, I would learn more complex stitches such as slip stitches, double treble crochet, and reverse single crochet. I have no idea how to do these things but should be able to learn. I also want to broaden my horizons on the projects that I do. I would like to learn how to make stuffed animals and different sizes of baby hats to donate to hospitals for newborn babies. I also want to learn how to make afghans and baby blankets like my mother and great aunts. All of these items that I make would be given away or donated to good causes. Another aspect of this project would be to experiment with different materials that could be crocheted. My grandmother once crocheted a small drawstring bag made out of strips of plastic bags. I have tried and practically failed to create something like this, but through this project, I could work on this and improve my skills. I actually am very excited to block off two hours a week to make things. Crocheting has many benefits. I hope this is an acceptable project and that I will learn a lot from this.

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The pictures in this post are my creations and projects!